Sunday, December 13, 2015

The hot-air balloon has gone up!

The 21st Conference of Parties has ground to a halt, predictably late. It has produced a 31-page Paris Agreement. It looks very like previous agreements, with much gnashing of teeth over climate threats. It is full of pious decides, also decides and further decides. But nearly all the decisions are about forming new committees, or making progress on earlier decisions. Decisions on real action are conspicuous by their absence, which is probably a merciful release for us all. The basis for carbon-cutting is the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDC's. Most nations were urged, after COP 20 in Lima,to dream up ways they could cut their emissions. Many responded. The UNFCCC sausage machine ground up the INDC's and found that by 2030 the world would emit some 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, rather than the hoped-for 40 million tons. Note that the INDC's are only intended - there are lots of good intentions paving this particular path to hell. But right at the end, it becomes clear that all this teeth-gnashing has worn the poor molars away: "1. At any time after three years from the date on which this Agreement has entered into force for a Party, that Party may withdraw from this Agreement by giving written notification to the Depositary. 2. Any such withdrawal shall take effect upon expiry of one year from the date of receipt by the Depositary of the notification of withdrawal, or on such later date as may be specified in the notification of withdrawal. 3. Any Party that withdraws from the Convention shall be considered as also having withdrawn from this Agreement." Some agreement!

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